Three soft skills that will make you better at work and beyond

No, this is not “teamwork” and “self-discipline.” Everything is much more enjoyable.

Soft skills are the future. Even a nuclear physicist who develops his communication skills will achieve more than his reclusive counterpart. Moreover, success in life is measured not only by career achievements but also by accumulated social connections.

The latter largely determines how happy a person is: good communication with relatives, colleagues, and partners improves the quality of life, helps to solve problems more quickly, and develops faster in the profession.

1. Negotiation skill

To the question, “Which soft skill is the most important?” I have a proven answer: negotiation skills. Our whole life is made up of them. Every step in working with a team, communicating with family, loved ones, and others — everywhere you need to be an effective communicator.

If dissatisfied people around you need help finding a common language, you most likely have problems.

At work, negotiations are especially valuable. You can do everything and be a top specialist in your field. But if you need to learn to negotiate, you will most likely devalue all your professional skills.

I will always choose the second one between two people — a super pro who is absolutely incapable of negotiating and a junior who wants to grow and knows how to deal. In the long run, this person will bring much more value to the company and will not harm the team. The ability to negotiate is a must-have. If you want to get along with other people, cost more as a specialist, and be of value to employers, download this skill.

For myself, I formulated four rules of communication.

1. Be honest. Communication always falls apart in places where there is manipulation and untruth. Any question from the interlocutor highlighting these shortcomings will destroy the entire line of negotiations. Therefore, telling the truth is essential, not embellishing or promising the impossible.

2. Understand yourself and your opponent. Leave competition and achievement at the door. You will win in communication if you understand yourself and your opponent as much as possible and find ways to make the two of you feel good.

Ask yourself as many questions as possible: “What is my goal?”, “What do I want to achieve?”, “What is my role in the negotiations?”. Actively ask about the expectations, interests, and tasks of the interlocutor. Listen carefully, consider what you hear, and devise scenarios to please both parties.

3. Be “not OK.” We all struggle for social dominance. This is an essential evolutionary thing, only it is harmful to negotiations. While you are measured by coolness, the location for each other is lost. If the interlocutor tries to prove that he is more significant, immediately give up.

Or relax it from the very beginning, show that you are “not OK”: drop the pen, drip coffee on your shirt, squint, and ask for a larger font. The interlocutor will understand who is in charge here, the competition for dominance will end, and you will move on to the constructive part.

4. Think of all possible scenarios. For example, what happens if everyone agrees with you? And if the interlocutors refuse all offers? What way out can please everyone, what proposals from the opponent will be deadly for you, and what else bad can happen — unfold all the scenarios and select theses and counter-theses for everyone. Practice negotiating under any circumstances.

2. Networking

This skill increases your value in the market: the more contacts, the more expensive the specialist. Networking provides opportunities for development, communicating with colleagues in the workshop, understanding what, where, and how it works, and the option of emergency answers to questions.

It’s always nicer to talk to a natural person.

Imagine: your service is down. You can call support or chat with a helper bot. Or you can dial the number of a specialist of this service you met recently. He will likely explain how to solve the problem without unnecessary expectations and formulaic advice.

Networking requires a systematic approach. There are a lot of sources of acquaintances: niche events, special services like Random-coffee, communities of interest, or targeted meetings by invitation in social networks.

Get into the habit of organizing one acquaintance a week in different ways, fix contacts and introductory information about a person, and keep in touch with him. If you do this, then in a year, you will receive at least 50+ valuable contacts.

3. The ability to say no

This skill has many layers.

The meta-level is to say no to social constructs, stereotypes, and other people’s ideas of “how it should be” and “how it is right.” The rejection of these guidelines returns a person to the freedom of choice.

The next level is to say no to everything that eats up strength and time. This returns control over valuable resources, allows you to live your own life, and not serve someone else’s.

Say no to stop trespassing. It is vital to protect yourself from emotional harm. Accumulating such discomfort and guilt for having endured inappropriate interference worsens mental health. Take care of it, don’t let it undermine your resilience.

And the last thing: say no to other people’s lack of independence, attempts to shift their responsibility onto you, and their refusal to delve into, think, and solve problems. Encourage, encourage, guide, and push for action, but do not do their work for others.

Be sensitive to yourself and others, formulate rules for effective communication, learn to actively listen, and be genuinely interested in people.

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